Battle lines are forming in the Decorah area, over a plan to raise lots of chickens. The proposal comes from Sholom Rubashkin, owner of the thriving packing plant at Postville. In all, three sites in Winneshiek County are proposed for poultry operations by Rubashkin’s company, Cottonballs L-L-C. The first application was already reviewed on paper by the Department of Natural Resources, since it would involve 200-thousand chickens, and a confinement that big must be compared to Iowa’s recently-created “master matrix” that sets standards for manure-management and other operating criteria. The Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors, however, has recommended the DNR deny the application. The plan includes the option to put another 200-thousand chickens at a second site nearby. There’s a public hearing on the plan this (Monday) morning at 11-30 at the Winneshiek County courthouse in Decorah.
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